Soon it might be possible to get a dairy-free hot chocolate topped with vegan whipped cream at Starbucks.
The coffee shop chain is currently testing dairy-free whipped cream at two locations in the Seattle area. If successful, it may mean that a national rollout is down the line. LIVEKINDLY has reached out to Starbucks for additional details.
The trial comes a little over a year after Starbucks locations in the UK added vegan whipped cream to its Pumpkin Spice Latte—which, unlike in the U.S., is dairy-free. (We’re still waiting, Starbucks. In the meantime, we’ll get our pumpkin spice fix elsewhere.)
Starbucks’ plan: offer plant-based food to cut carbon emissions
This isn’t Starbucks’ first time trialing vegan versions of its menu staples. In October 2020, the chain tested a fully plant-based breakfast sandwich at a single location in Issaquah, Washington, complete with a mung bean-based egg patty, dairy-free cheese, and a meat-free sausage patty. In the previous month, that same location trialed vegan cream cheese from Miyoko’s Creamery.
The move to test vegan food is likely due to Starbucks’ commitment to slash its carbon footprint. By 2030, the company plans to halve its carbon emissions as well as waste sent to landfills from both stores and manufacturing plants.
“Our aspiration is to become resource positive—storing more carbon than we emit, eliminating waste, and providing more clean freshwater than we use,” chief executive officer Kevin Johnson announced in January 2020.
Adding more plant-based food as well as a shift toward reusable packaging is also part of Starbucks’ more environmentally-friendly direction. Animal products, like heavenly whipped cream or a sausage, egg, and cheese breakfast sandwich, require more land and resources and emit more greenhouse gases than their plant-based counterparts. Offering plant-based options in lieu of animal-based food could help Starbucks reduce its carbon footprint in the long run.
“Our eyes are wide open knowing that we do not have all the answers or fully understand all the complexities and potential consequences,” said Johnson. “Now, it’s time to create an even broader aspiration–and it’s work that will require visionary thinking, new ways of working, investment of resources and urgent action.”